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Keeping Juvenile Justice at the Center of Reparations

Marion Humphrey, Jr. Friday, 21 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Why the Ongoing Harm to Children of Color in the Criminal Justice System Should Be a Part of the Reparations Discussion

By Marion Humphrey, Jr.

On Juneteeth, June 19, 2019, the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on H.R. 40, an act to create a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans.

As introduced in the The Color of Youth Transferred to the Adult Criminal Justice System: Policy & Practice Recommendations, in the United States, “the vestiges of slavery are embedded in the criminal justice system and codified in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

2019 Summer Fellows

Summer Fellows Friday, 14 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Summer is here and CFYJ has a new class of summer fellows! Our 2019 fellow class represents diverse backgrounds from all over the country and have come to Washington this summer with one goal-- to help advance justice for young people. Learn more about their backgrounds and aspirations.  

Pictured left to right: Ashni, Ashley, Francine, and Marion

In Honor Of...

Marcy Mistrett, CEO Thursday, 06 June 2019 Posted in 2019

Today we remember Kalief Browder and the children who sleep in adult jails and prisons every night across the country

By Marcy Mistrett, CEO

Anniversaries can be moments of celebration or they can be reminders of our losses and short-comings.  The exoneration and settlement awarded to of five young men charged with rape, assault, robbery , attempted murder, and rioting  in NY in 2014 juxtaposed to the tragic suicide of Kalief Browder in 2015 underscores this fact.

Today is the 4th anniversary of Kalief Browder’s death; he was 22 years young when he took his life, after spending three years on Rikers Island in New York as a teenager, two of which were spent in solitary confinement.  His story moved a nation—and the state of New York fundamentally changed the way it looked at 16 & 17 year olds in their justice system.

The New Netflix Limited Series "When They See Us" Provides an Inside Look at the Power of Prosecutors and Media in Youth Incarceration Cases

By Aprill O. Turner CFYJ Communications Director Thursday, 30 May 2019 Posted in Across the Country

By Aprill O. Turner, CFYJ Communications Director

NOTE: CFYJ Communications Director, Aprill Turner appeared on WHUR.FM (Washington, DC) with cast member of "When They See Us", Asante Blackk. Check out the full interview here--What You Will Learn From the Documentary of Central Park 5.

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Today Netflix releases the highly anticipated limited series, Ava DuVernay's "When They See Us". The series chronicles the story of the tragic Central Park Five case about five teenage boys of color from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of the rape of a white woman which they didn't commit in 1989, and the 25-year fight for justice following their conviction.

The Campaign for Youth Justice had the opportunity to participate in an advanced screening of the film last month in New York, along with other social and criminal justice advocacy organizations.

Landmark Reforms Rolling Back Mandatory Transfer in Oregon & Florida

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director Thursday, 30 May 2019 Posted in Campaigns

By Brian Evans, CFYJ State Campaigns Director

Back in 1994, the year the infamous federal Crime Bill passed – accelerating mass incarceration throughout the United States – the voting public in Oregon chose to endorse Measure 11, a “tough-on-crime” proposal that required children as young as 15 to automatically be transferred to the adult criminal justice system for a wide variety of crimes. By 1997, the legislature had expanded the list of crimes to 23 and lengthened the mandatory sentences associated with them.

2019 Legislative Reforms After Raise the Age

Brian Evans & Jeree Thomas Monday, 20 May 2019 Posted in 2019

Since 2016, five states, Louisiana, South Carolina, New York, North Carolina, and Missouri, have passed laws to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to age eighteen.  Now, only four states remain with lower ages of juvenile court jurisdiction without laws to raise the age in the near future. Michigan’s legislature recently passed bill packages in the House and the Senate to raise the age. 

Challenging Lengthy Sentences for Youth Prosecuted As Adults in Illinois

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Monday, 06 May 2019 Posted in 2019

Brian Harrington was fourteen-years-old when he was prosecuted as an adult in Illinois and sentenced to twenty-five year under the state’s truth in sentencing law.  On April 11th, his attorney and loved ones presented his clemency petition in the hopes of bringing him home before he spends over half of his life incarcerated.

Free Masonique

By Jeree Thomas. Policy Director Thursday, 02 May 2019 Posted in 2019

On December 7, 2018, an undercover Columbus Police officer shot and killed sixteen-year-old  Julius Ervin Tate Jr. in a sting operation. The police allege that Tate pulled a gun on one of the officers during their exchange, but that claim is under dispute.  A week later, the police arrested sixteen-year-old Masonique Saunders, Tate’s girlfriend, for aggravated robbery and the felony murder of her boyfriend.

What A Week for Youth Justice: Help Us Thank Our Advocates and Families

Monday, 22 April 2019

As state legislative sessions are starting to come to a close, we are seeing some excellent progress in our state campaigns and with some of our other state partners.  If you need a little joy this week, please feel free to send inspirational tweets to the advocates and families leading these initiatives in the states:

 

Removing Youth from Adult Jails & Prisons is a Racial Justice Issue: Making the Shift in Connecticut away from Prisons & Toward Communities

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director Thursday, 18 April 2019 Posted in Campaigns

Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director

When I was finally let into general population, entering into my cottage, I felt like I was walking into a dog pound, all of the youth banging on the doors to get my attention to send threats. While I was passing every door I would look at the kid behind it. All I could see were kids, black like me, that had been turned out due to the system.
- Romelo Gross, formerly incarcerated in Manson Youth Institution

On Monday, April 15th, Connecticut legislators Senator Gary Winfield, Representative Toni Walker, and Representative Robyn Porter joined the young adult leaders of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Justice Advisors program to discuss how to shift away from holding children in adult jails and prisons in the state.  

A recurring theme throughout the event was that the prosecution and incarceration of children as adults has its roots in slavery and racial terror.  As a result, the punishment of adultification is most often reserved for black youth. This is true in Connecticut and nationally, where black youth are disproportionately represented in adult courts, jails and prisons.  This holds true even as the United States has reduced its daily population of youth in adult jails and prisons  by 53% since 2010, from 9,855 on any given night to 4,656.  

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